This paid summer training program provides a small group of rising Williams sophomores and juniors, with priority given to rising sophomores, training in key skills, and the opportunity to help build better community service and experiential learning opportunities at Williams. The 8-week, 35-hour/week position reports to the CLiA Director and includes on-campus housing. The 2024 program will run from June 11th – August 2nd, 2024.
- Participation in orientation and training sessions
- Working on a group creative project and a 4-week individual project with a community organization
- Assisting in the review and improvement of community outreach programming and partnerships
We look for highly motivated students with a strong work ethic, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to work independently. Familiarity with (or willingness to learn) Microsoft Excel, Google Drive, and WordPress is also desirable. The program also provides basic training in videography, web design, and graphic arts.
To apply, submit the online application form by Sunday, March 31st, 2024 at 11:59pm. For more information, drop in on one of CLiA’s weekly Open Office Hours (Thursdays, 11:30am – 1pm in Paresky) or email CLiA Director Dr. Paula Consolini ([email protected]).
Past Community Outreach Fellow teams have created music video public service announcements, training videos, and podcasts. Individual projects have included designing community events, developing websites and social media strategies for community initiatives, creating K-12 curriculum modules, and helping develop mobile phone apps.
Our most recent Community Outreach Fellows are featured below. For more information about previous years’ Fellows, please visit our Past Fellows page.
(Click the students’ names to learn more about their work… more coming soon!)
Working as a Community Outreach Fellow for CLiA was truly an enriching experience. As a prospective Africana major, I've always loved taking part in theorizing about the world, why certain relationships exist, specifically as described within the study of Blackness and modernity. The conversations and literature that stem from the subject matter are truly fascinating. So much so, I knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to take what I understood about the world around me and do something about it. I wanted not only to theorize but to strategize. I wanted to engage.
I had always been involved in my community back home in New York City. I was a policy debater in high school and a lot of the work I did was in collaboration with local debate leagues, mentoring elementary and middle school students on the art of argumentation. I loved helping students find their voice and speak up on matters important to them. My experiences instilled in me a strong desire to extend my ‘green thumb’ of community action to my college campus, no matter what shape that took on. During my first year at Williams I took two Africana courses AFR 234 Race, Land and Settler (Racial) Capitalism: Ongoing Topics in (Dis)/ (Re)possession and AFR 235 Race, Land, Dis/Re-possession: Critical Topics in Environmental Injustice and Subaltern Geographies, both under Professor Allison Guess. The two courses were rooted in community engagement and exposed me to various neighborhoods within the Berkshires and vital histories of the area. I knew I wanted to continue to explore and engage in the community around me and CLiA offered me the opportunity to do just that.
During the fellowship program, I worked on diverse projects that allowed me to bring my passions to life. My first project consisted of creating a zine about Juneteenth. This idea spurred from one of my favorite moments of the program, the Juneteenth celebration hosted by the Berkshires Black Economic Council (BBEC). I worked on an informational zine on the history of Juneteenth and how the Berkshires celebrated this year.
My secondary project was a promotional video on engaged scholarship and the 2024 CLiA Winter Study course, 'Introduction to Engaged Scholarship.' I am a huge supporter of uniting scholarship with community action and after my own experience in courses modeling this structure, I knew I wanted to advocate for more opportunities like this at Williams. The video serves as a tool for both students and faculty/staff to understand what engaged scholarship is and its significance within higher education.
For my final project, I was able to work closely with Paula Consolini, the director of CLiA, on communications for an event on divesting from profit-driven economic models through introducing Loiter, a community-based organization, to the college community. Additionally, I will also be working on promoting the community outreach fellowship program for future years.
Overall, my CLiA Summer Fellowship experience is one I will never forget. I was able to work on projects I'm very passionate about and provided with the support I needed to do so. Being able to connect with a variety of different organizations and immerse myself within the Berkshires community has been truly amazing. I am so grateful to Paula, Colin and Ash for all that they have done and continue to do at CLiA.
Hi! I'm Emily Flores, a sophomore at Williams College, and I'm honored to be the E. Wayne Wilkins, Jr. '41 Community Outreach Fellow for the summer of 2023. Having already glimpsed the impactful work that CLiA does during my first year, I was absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to collaborate with and learn from many amazing people across Berkshire County.
From day one, CLiA encouraged us to immerse ourselves in the surrounding communities. We participated in various events like reading aloud for elementary school DEI initiatives, tabling at Pittsfield's Juneteenth event, and volunteering at the Berkshire Innovations Center's TedXBerkshires. Through these experiences, we were able to connect with many nonprofits and community organizations who are all dedicated to making their communities a better place.
After learning about the many ways to connect with the community, we were given the opportunity to pursue projects of our own. At the start of the summer, I worked on a short project creating a bilingual zine highlighting Mexican refranes, or sayings. These sayings were a source of connection and comfort for me, heard from my parents, neighbors, and teachers as I grew up. I hope to make my zine available inside and outside the purple bubble, so that everyone can experience the beauty of this aspect of my language.
For my main project, I focused on promoting inclusivity at the Hopkins Memorial Forest. Building on my previous work there as an Outdoor Educator, I noticed the absence of Native American representation in the curriculum and signage. With support from various organizations and individuals like Bonney Hartley at the Stockbridge-Munsee Preservation office, the Williamstown Historical Museum, Jennifer Swoap from Elementary Outreach, and Drew Jones from Hopkins Forest, I developed two signs and enhanced the Outdoor Educator Curriculum. One sign highlights the history of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican in Williamstown, while the other is a permanent Land Acknowledgement at the Forest kiosk. These two signs would serve to visibly remind visitors of the Stockbridge-Munsee's presence in the area and their history. Additionally, I expanded the 1st grade Maple Sugaring Field Trip lesson plan to emphasize the Native American origins of maple sugaring. My hope is that this work can go beyond the Outdoor Educator program and be integrated into Hopkins Forest's annual Maple Festival (Maplefest) and foster collaboration between the forest and the Stockbridge-Munsee Preservation office to give due recognition to maple sugaring's history.
Ultimately, I am thankful for everyone that was part of this summer experience. Thank you to all the Community Outreach Fellows, Paula, Colin, and Jen. I can't wait to continue collaborating with CLiA and the larger Berkshire community.
- Zine: "A Zines About Refranes" (PNG)
- Hopkins Forest Land Acknowledgement (PNG)
- Hopkins Forest Sign (PNG)
- Hopkins Forest Maple Sugaring Field Trip Lesson Plan (Google Doc)
Hi, my name is Khedija Shafi, and I am from Los Angeles. I am a rising sophomore at Williams College majoring in Chemistry in the pre-med track.
You wouldn't think a summer fellowship would have such a profound impact on my college and career trajectories, but it did. In the summer of 2023, I got the incredible opportunity to spend my summer in the Berkshires doing a community outreach fellowship with the Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) at Williams College. I was excited to partake in this amazing program because CLiA prides itself on community engagement and experiential learning, values I look for in my learning approaches.
While in LA, I was a community organizer and worked closely with Black Lives Matter LA and a student-led organization called Student Deserve. Early on, I learned the value of coming together to connect and make a positive impact effectively. CLiA allowed me to explore Berkshire, its history, the beautiful scenery, and, most importantly, get to know the people.
As part of this fellowship, we got to know the Berkshires on another level. Starting from going to elementary schools and reading books for kids, having breakfast with elders at Williamstown Council on Aging, tabling for the Juneteenth event, attending TedXBerkshires, and of course, trying new ice cream places and restaurants beyond Spring Street. 🙂 The most memorable and meaningful part was the people, the community members. I was able to network with people who are actively working to make the Berkshires a better place. I am so grateful to CLiA for helping me network with diverse groups of people.
What I love about this summer program is the freedom to express and explore our passion. I reflected more on my values and what I want to do this summer and beyond. For the personal project, I chose to work on making our environment more accessible for people with disabilities. I focused more on advocating for and creating a resource guide for visually impaired or blind people in the Berkshires. I hope to publish and distribute what I have created to local libraries, nursing homes, and community centers.
Moreover, I created a video series raising awareness about different volunteer opportunities for pre-med/public health students at Williams College. I highlighted the Bennington Free Clinic, Berkshire Health Systems, and HospiceCare in the Berkshires. I also went through the process of becoming a volunteer with Berkshire Health Systems. I captured my process of filling out the application and getting my immunization and TB test so that students can clearly understand the process.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with CLiA. I hope my work will help people and encourage others to go out, explore, and contribute to the community.
- Project: "Resource Guide for Visually Impaired or Blind" (PDF)
- Videos: (YouTube Playlist)
Hello! My name is Monica Natsuko Wheeler, and I am a sophomore at Williams College. My hometown in Connecticut features a wide wealth disparity within itself, as well as an even larger one between itself and the neighboring city. During my numerous drives through Berkshire County, I could not help but notice the wealth disparities between Williamstown and much of the surrounding areas which paralleled the inequality back home. It constantly caused me to wonder, were Williams students aware of what communities were outside "the Purple Bubble"? Students need to be willing to learn about the place in which we reside and unveil the farce of picturesque Williamstown to consider neighboring realities of underfunding and poverty: to engage and interact with non-Williams affiliates. These are all reasons I wished to continue working with CLiA this summer.
While learning about the systematic inequalities that have shaped the towns around Williamstown, I decided to focus on building educational content highlighting "The Celestials." They were a group of 75 (and later more) Chinese immigrants who traveled to North Adams, MA from California in 1870 as strikebreakers at a shoe factory. My boss, Paula, had mentioned this story to my team during a walking tour of the city, and I was struck by such rich local history which I had never heard of during my entire first year, despite having visited North Adams on numerous occasions. I guess "the Purple Bubble" was no joke.
As an Asian American student myself, I had been aware of the sparse Asian American presence around the Berkshires as a whole. Yet, upon moving here, I would have never thought that events which precipitated in North Adams directly caused the Chinese Exclusion Act: the first anti-immigration law in the United States.
After conducting deeper research, I was once again shocked at the significant lack of awareness amongst local residents and Williams affiliates surrounding the history. Unable to overlook this alarming truth, I created multimedia content to present my findings to community members in accessible formats. This includes a succinct promotional video introducing the history and an eye-catching zine with more detailed information. I plan to distribute my zine to local public libraries, the Mass MoCA, and more.
Thank you to Paula, Colin, Ash, and the community outreach fellows for your guidance and support this summer!